Here’s a round-up of stories we haven’t had time to cover on the site this past week…
Business Secretary Vince Cable is standing by his candidate to head the university fair access watchdog, despite a rejection by MPs. Les Ebdon had been put forward by ministers as their preference for director of the Office for Fair Access. But MPs on a select committee have voted to try to block the appointment. However ministers are not backing down – with a BIS spokeswoman saying: “Vince remains of the view that Les Ebdon is the right candidate.” … A Labour MP on the committee, Paul Blomfield, said the vote against Prof Ebdon was “a political ambush which had more to do with coalition politics than concern with access to our universities”. MPs voting against Prof Ebdon’s appointment were Conservatives.
THE race is on within Liverpool’s Liberal Democrats to find a candidate for the elected mayor battle, writes Marc Waddington. Although the party says it is opposed to the new system without a referendum, senior figures said they “would not leave any election unfought”. While the party’s members are remaining tight-lipped about front runners, the deputy leader of the Lib Dem group on the council, Cllr Richard Kemp, is a leading contender.
Andrew Hawkins, the founder of ComRes, the political polling company, says that, while Clegg’s image could not be much poorer, any damage caused by Radcliffe’s snub would only be temporary. “It could matter insofar as it might encourage people to think others are thinking what they’re thinking,” he says. “But beyond that I don’t think Radcliffe or Colin Firth is going to be decisive in determining any one’s future. And I’m not aware of a celebrity who has had an effect on polls.”
I have today settled my claim against News International in relation to the hacking of my phone. I have settled because I am completely satisfied that the evidence which currently exists in relation to my case has been disclosed to or is being made available to my lawyers. I want to make clear that in my settlement there is no confidentiality clause. News International will be obliged to continue to disclose any relevant documents to me, and will be open to further action if further information is uncovered. The evidence in my case clearly demonstrates that the practice of hacking was widespread and went much further up the chain than Clive Goodman and Glenn Mulcaire. It was criminal behaviour on an industrial scale. Sadly, the deficiencies of the original police enquiries, which failed to investigate the clear evidence of much of the criminal behaviour at one of the most important businesses in our country, are also all too apparent. … There must also be answers to the serious questions about how the police managed to fail so badly in their original investigation. I will now pursue this matter through my participation in the Leveson Enquiry, an enquiry which I fully support.
* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.